WATCH: How shoeboxes bring hope to remote, conflict-hit schools

David Lozada
WATCH: How shoeboxes bring hope to remote, conflict-hit schools
Since 2012, the Philippine Army Civil Military Operations Group's Project Shoebox has given school supplies to about 300,000 students from Abra to Jolo

MANILA, Philippines – Got a shoebox at home? Don’t throw it away. It can open up education opportunities for youth in far-flung, conflict-stricken areas. 

Project Shoebox, an initiative by Col Thomas Sedano Jr of the Philippine Army’s Civil Military Operations (CMO) Group, shows us how.

The idea is to put basic school supplies and hygiene kits in shoeboxes. Donors can also put a simple note for the beneficiaries and these are distributed to different elementary schools.

“I got the idea when I was in United States in one of my military trainings. I attended a religious service, and we were asked to put or donate toys in a shoebox for the school children in Africa,” Sedano said.

Hope and inspiration

In the past 5 years, Project Shoebox has reached almost 300,000 students from Abra to Jolo.

“I targeted elementary students. I believe that every child has the right to good education, that is why I focused on this advocacy,” he said.

Sedano still remembers the first time they donated shoeboxes to a small school in Pagsanjan, Laguna.

“What’s heart-warming was when we saw the smiles in the faces of the children once they received the shoeboxes. You can see the enthusiasm, the sparkle in their eyes. You can see that, somehow, you have given hope and inspiration to these children to strive hard and continue their studies,” Sedano said

For his initiative, Sedano received the University of the Philippines Alumni Association (UPAA) Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016 for poverty alleviation and human development.

How to help

Those interested to donate shoeboxes and school supplies can reach the CMO group via the following contact details:

  • Facebook page
  • E-mail:
  • Civil affairs division hotline: 09988521744

“We are more than willing to assist them whatever help or support they can give – be it shoeboxes, school supplies, or their presence during repacking and distributions,” Sedano said.

Project Shoebox uses the Philippine Army’s units across the country to pick the beneficiary schools. They also work closely with the Department of Education. –

Project Shoebox is a partner organization of Rappler’s civic engagement arm MovePH. For more information on how you can help or be part of Project Shoebox, contact them here. Know more about our other organization partners:

Do you want your organization to be part of MovePH’s X network? Email us at

At Rappler and MovePH, we believe there are many freedoms: to speak, to choose, to love, or just to be. #InspireCourage is our campaign to encourage people to speak up, engage in issues, and continue fighting for the change they want to see. Be part of the conversation. 

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